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Maids + Elevators = 2600 Homebrew


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#201 Nathan Strum OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:37 AM

Moby Games has a ton of screenshots. Whenever I'm looking for a pic of some obscure game, I can ususally find it there.

#202 Cybergoth OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:45 PM

The game scored 75% in the current issue of rgdc: http://www.rgcd.co.uk/current-issue/

#203 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:28 PM

The game scored 75% in the current issue of rgdc: http://www.rgcd.co.uk/current-issue/

Wow! Extremely proffesional done website and magazine. :thumbsup:

#204 Nognir OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 13, 2007 1:16 AM

I gave it 81% ^^

Elevators Amiss Review

#205 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:40 AM

I gave it 81% ^^

Elevators Amiss Review

Thanks!

And thanks for the link, Manuel.

#206 Nognir OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 13, 2007 2:22 PM

You're welcome ;)

sometimes the colors on my PAL console are a bit weird like brown background and black elevators ^^ That was my only point which I had to "complain"

#207 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 13, 2007 2:35 PM

sometimes the colors on my PAL console are a bit weird like brown background and black elevators ^^ That was my only point which I had to "complain"

We need a PAL version. ;)

#208 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:18 AM

sometimes the colors on my PAL console are a bit weird like brown background and black elevators ^^ That was my only point which I had to "complain"

We need a PAL version. ;)

:ponder:

I'm hoping to get a PAL version done by Christmas.

#209 TMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:17 PM

It got an overall score of 7 at Oldschool Gaming =-)

#210 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:48 PM

It got an overall score of 7 at Oldschool Gaming =-)

Thanks for the link. I also just read the (only) review here in the store; everybody seems to have similar complaints - which are reflected in the comments in this thread.

Basically, folks find it a nifty game, but too bland - The People Want More! More eye-candy, mostly, but also more gameplay elements.

A short response:
You're not wrong! The game would be more interesting (and certainly prettier!) with more eye-candy, it would be more interesting with more gameplay elements like items to collect, things to avoid besides elevators, etc.

I didn't add those things for a couple of reasons. Taking them in order of importance:
1. I wanted to write a faithful translation of a favorite game from my childhood. That game (as a reminder: Elevator Repairman) is as simple, or simpler, than Elevators Amiss.
2. The limitations of the 2600 don't allow for most of the requested improvements. Specifically, there are few other sprite-objects to use to draw anything on the screen, and no time to draw them anyway!
3. The limitations of 4K. I wanted this game to fit in 4K, for a couple of reasons:
-First, I have written an 8K game (Go Fish!), a 16K game (Reindeer Rescue), and a sort-of 4K game (M-4), which was really a 2.5K game with a lot of filler to bring it up to 3.5K. I wanted the challenge of getting as much game into 4K as possible. I'm pretty proud of how much I crammed in - it has music, sound effects, and uses the SaveKey/AtariVox, all in 4K.
-Second, this was written at least partly for the minigame competition, which has a 4K category but no 8K category.
-Third, I wanted to keep the cost of this down. I recognize that this game isn't as fancy nor as fun as, say, Lady Bug, Star Fire, etc., and I wanted it to be correspondingly cheaper.
-Fourth, relatedly, I didn't want to put a 5K game in an 8K cart. Nor did I want to add a ton of filler to bring it up to 8K. I did do that, to some extent, with Go Fish!, and I have some minor regrets about that.

Some specifics: I did want to add a skyscape/hotel top/roofline to the top of the screen, but there just isn't any screen real estate left up there. Nor ROM for more graphics, for that matter. I know that some of the colors may be hard to see on your TV but, well, I did the best I could. I did test all the color schemes on my 2600 that has a crappy RF connection and made some tweaks but, well, you can't please everybody, I guess. A technical excuse: the method of generating the colors in the game is pretty complicated and doesn't permit fine tuning.

The things that were cut that I really wanted to put in the game were:
1. A two-player versus mode. Oh, how I wanted this.
2. The previously mentioned roofline
3. A title screen (even if nothing more than the game title displayed above the play area of the screen)

Anyway, thanks for any and all reviews/comments and thanks to anyone who has played the game, and thanks especially to everyone who buys it!

#211 Cybergoth OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:46 AM

No need to excuse for an excellent game! :D

#212 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:09 AM

No need to excuse for an excellent game! :D

My thoughts exactly.

There are many arguments from a programmers point, which many non-programmers can hardly understand. Homebrewers are mainly doing this for their(!) fun. And programming inside some self-determined (extra) restrictions is part of it.

That's why I squeezed 600 puzzles into Jammed at the cost of fancy graphics and why I did my 1k games. The challenge! :)

#213 s0c7 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:20 AM

Ditto the above 2 posts. :)

Are you still planning to submit it to the 4k compo this year?

#214 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:03 AM

Ditto the above 2 posts. :)

Are you still planning to submit it to the 4k compo this year?

Yeah. I keep putting it off, though.

And - I don't feel I have to make excuses, I just wanted to...explain, I guess. I am proud of Elevators Amiss, perhaps more than any of my other games. (So far :)) I think it was the best-coded game, I pushed it to the limits more than any other game I've done. It probably isn't the most fun (my favorite to play is probably M-4), but I think I made the fewest compromises, cut the fewest corners in coding.

#215 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:12 PM

PAL60!

At the prompting and prodding of a few folks, I spent a few hours :o this morning reworking the colors.

Please take a look at the screenshots below and give me some feedback - and if you have a PAL TV, please please test this binary and let me know what you think.

First, though, a caveat: how the colors are determined is kinda weird and doesn't lend itself to subtle tweaking. There aren't a lot of color combinations available. So don't expect any tweaks. However! What I can do is, if a certain color combination is just too hideous, is swap it out for a different one. Well, actually, the elevator/stair color can be set exactly, so it can be tweaked.

Ok, enough blather:
ElevatorsAmissPAL6020080117.bin.png ElevatorsAmissPAL6020080117.bin_2.png png]ElevatorsAmissPAL6020080117.bin_3.png
ElevatorsAmissPAL6020080117.bin_4.png ElevatorsAmissPAL6020080117.bin_5.png png]ElevatorsAmissPAL6020080117.bin_6.png
ElevatorsAmissPAL6020080117.bin_7.png ElevatorsAmissPAL6020080117.bin_8.png png]ElevatorsAmissPAL6020080117.bin_9.png
ElevatorsAmissPAL6020080117.bin_10.png

Attached File  ElevatorsAmissPAL6020080117.bin   4KB   134 downloads

Edited by vdub_bobby, Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:46 PM.


#216 Albert OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:21 PM

Ahh, cool! :)

..Al

#217 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:27 PM

PAL60!

At the prompting and prodding of a few folks, I spent a few hours :o this morning reworking the colors.

Please take a look at the screenshots below and give me some feedback - and if you have a PAL TV, please please test this binary and let me know what you think.

First, though, a caveat: how the colors are determined is kinda weird and doesn't lend itself to subtle tweaking. There aren't a lot of color combinations available. So don't expect any tweaks. However! What I can do is, if a certain color combination is just too hideous, is swap it out for a different one. Well, actually, the elevator/stair color can be set exactly, so it can be tweaked.

1. ok, but 1, 3 and 4 are almost see same
2. all blue, almost no contrast at all
3. elevators almost black
4. all blue, except row 2+5 magenta (counting from top)
5. a bit too bright, else ok
6. row 3, 6 and 8 look black ($02 is pretty dark on my TV)
7. too bright IMO, 1,3+4 look all the same
8. 1=3=4
9. ok
10. ok (still it looks different, 1+4 are slighly darker than 2 and not vice versa)

BTW: How can I check all colors without having to play through all level in Child mode?

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:28 PM.


#218 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:22 PM

BTW: How can I check all colors without having to play through all level in Child mode?

Thanks! I'll post some test binaries with different start levels after I make a few changes...

And, just for reference, each level only has three different colors. Well, color-pairs, since the floors are the same color as the walls, just darker.

So, counting from the top: 1, 3, and 6 are the same; 2, 5, and 8 are the same, and 4 and 7 are the same.

And here's some of the reasoning behind the colors.
First, the way the colors are displayed is this: I chose three base colors ($BA, $DA, and $CA). Then every level has a unique, single value that is EORed with those colors. And that gives you the final color. The EOR values are as follows:
$8C, $08, $F8, $68, $90, $B8, $04, $88, $E0, $FC
So that's how it works. Here's why I chose the colors/combinations I did.
-I want each of the three colors in a level to be unique. This wasn't an issue with the NTSC version; I just picked 3 different base colors and I was off to the races. For PAL, since 4 of the color values are the same (shades of gray), I have to watch out for combinations with two or more grays.
-I want the floors to be darker than the walls. This means I'm limited to 4 shades of brightness for the walls (the floors are one shade darker): 2, 6, 10, 14. This is because of the EOR, the other values (0, 4, 8, 12) have floors that are lighter.
-I want each level to be different. (Well, technically, they repeat starting with level 11.) There are 44 combinations possible, since two combinations are the same except they use a different gray color. So picking 10 unique isn't too hard, though I'll point out that means I have to use about a quarter of the possible combinations! So I can't reject too many.

-I want each level, to some extent, to have a "theme." I want some levels to be dark, some to be light, some to be blueish, some to be brownish, some reddish, etc. I picked the three base colors to be close to each other, both in color and in value. Since like colors are sort-of grouped in the TIA, picking an initial set that are grouped means that after the EOR is applied, they will still be grouped. This means that I can have a set of three blueish colors, three greenish colors, etc. I wanted to do this partly because I like it and partly because, if I don't, every level looks basically the same: a random scatter of rainbow colors.
-I want the levels to be playable! I.e., it shouldn't be hard to see the elevators/maid/etc.
-I want successive levels to be noticeably different (except for 10 and 11, 20 and 21, etc. - I want those pairs to be similar :)).

Whew! All that said, I'll gladly take suggestions!

Edited by vdub_bobby, Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:23 PM.


#219 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:03 PM

Whew! All that said, I'll gladly take suggestions!

Two problems I can recognize with PAL here:
1. Dark gray ($02) will look black on my TV. Maybe someone else should check if it just me or a general PAL problem.

If it is general you should limit yourself to 3 brightnesses (if possible).

2. At the higher color values, the colors are very close, so EORing with $0x, will result in three(!) almost identical colors (which values are you using in NTSC?).

Hm...

Maybe by selecting colors around $8a ($7a, $9a) will solve this problem. EORing with $0x, $1x, $2x, $3x, $4x, $5x should work.

Other options: $8a, $9a, $aa or $6a, $7a, $8a.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:05 PM.


#220 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:16 PM

Whew! All that said, I'll gladly take suggestions!

Two problems I can recognize with PAL here:
1. Dark gray ($02) will look black on my TV. Maybe someone else should check if it just me or a general PAL problem.

If it is general you should limit yourself to 3 brightnesses (if possible).

2. At the higher color values, the colors are very close, so EORing with $0x, will result in three(!) almost identical colors (which values are you using in NTSC?).

Hm...

Maybe by selecting colors around $8a ($7a, $9a) will solve this problem. EORing with $0x, $1x, $2x, $3x, $4x, $5x should work.

Other options: $8a, $9a, $aa or $6a, $7a, $8a.

Thanks for the suggestions and tips. I'll steer clear of the lowest brightness. I'm working on figuring out some other values; I played around with base colors of $7A, $8A, and $9A but the I remembered the problem I ran into before with NTSC, only it seems to be worse with PAL: it is very easy to end up with situations (789 is one of them) where every combination has blue in it! Which is no good, I need at least one or two combinations with no blue (i.e., all in $Ex, $Fx, and $0x-$6x. Plus maybe $7x). I'd ask some color expert to help me but I'm afraid it's too complicated for any non-math/programmer to understand!

I'm playing around with base values of $9A, $AA, $BA right now.

Oh, and almost identical colors are sort of ok...I could play around with the base colors having different base brightnesses, but that adds so much complexity (and limits the brightness options in the end) that I don't know if it is worth it.

#221 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:25 PM

I'm playing around with base values of $9A, $AA, $BA right now.

That should give some non-blue combinations. ($8x, $9x, $ax, $cx...). 89a or 567 should work too.

Oh, and almost identical colors are sort of ok...I could play around with the base colors having different base brightnesses, but that adds so much complexity (and limits the brightness options in the end) that I don't know if it is worth it.

Two almost identical colors are ok and probably inevitable, but three are no good. IMO.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:26 PM.


#222 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:39 PM

Thanks for the suggestions and tips. I'll steer clear of the lowest brightness.

Best would probably $x4, $x8 and $xC for the walls, but then you would have to subtract for the floors instead of a simple EOR.

Have you posted the code somewhere?

#223 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:40 PM

I'm playing around with base values of $9A, $AA, $BA right now.

That should give some non-blue combinations. ($8x, $9x, $ax, $cx...). 89a or 567 should work too.

Well, I abandoned 9AB already :) since there were some OK non-blue options but no good non-purple/magenta combinations.

So I tweaked the original BCD one a little, mostly took out all the very dark colors. Here are the ten binaries. :)

Er, actually there are nine. The tenth level has the same colors as the game shows upon startup. ;)

Attached Files



#224 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:46 PM

Thanks for the suggestions and tips. I'll steer clear of the lowest brightness.

Best would probably $x4, $x8 and $xC for the walls, but then you would have to subtract for the floors instead of a simple EOR.

Have you posted the code somewhere?

Here's the source. I don't think getting a SBC in there is gonna happen, but feel free to prove me wrong. :D

The problem is that I don't know, in the kernel, when I'm displaying floor vs. wall. Well, I sort of know, but I don't think I know well enough. Plus I don't think there are any cycles free and there is 12 free bytes of ROM in the entire binary. :P

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#225 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:52 PM

I don't totally follow the code, but it looks like when you're in NoSpritesSubKernelSubroutine you have cycles to burn, and you go there once per floor.

Since each zero in the staircase table is followed by at least two of the same value, you might be able to use the first byte after the zero to modify 'gameflags3' somehow. If you need a little bit more space, you could probably overlap SFXFloorCompleteVolumeTable with the staircase table (just make sure the zeros like up properly).




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